New York City — While loudly complaining about the “unethical” treatment of animals by restaurant owners, grocers, farmers, scientists, anglers, and countless other Americans, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been hiding its own dirty little secret. PETA kills animals, and visitors to New York’s famed Times Square during the month of May will see a 60-by-60-foot billboard carrying that message, in a rare splashy advertisement that PETA won’t appreciate. Information obtained from the State of Virginia shows that PETA has a long-standing practice of killing thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals at its Norfolk, Virginia headquarters. Along with the billboard, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom is unveiling a new website — www.PetaKillsAnimals.com — where PETA’s hypocritical death toll is on display.

Between 1998 and 2003, PETA put to death over 10,000 dogs, cats, and other creatures that the group publicly calls “companion animals.” Not counting those that PETA held only temporarily — for spaying or neutering — the group killed over 85 percent of the animals it took in during 2003.

“PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year,” said Center for Consumer Freedom research director David Martosko, “and much of it was from pet owners who thought their donations actually helped animals. Instead, PETA killed them — while spending millions on programs equating meat eaters with Nazis, scaring young children away from drinking milk, recruiting kids into a radical animal-rights lifestyle, and even defending arsonists and other violent extremists.”

Other animal protection agencies near PETA’s Virginia headquarters “put down” a much smaller percentage of the animals entrusted to them. In 2003 the Norfolk SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals. The Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent. PETA could only manage 14 percent.

“We’re out to tell the truth about PETA,” added Martosko. “This group’s duplicity knows no bounds. PETA accepts animal-lovers’ donations with one hand while administering lethal injections to puppies and kittens with the other. That’s not ‘ethical.’ It’s hypocritical.”